Lesson 4 – What is Reality?
A profound question, no doubt but one that does need to be addressed before we consider our venture into Dream World.
For this discussion we will need to employ the use of models. Scientifically speaking this is what we use to convey a concept when a more tangible alternative is not available to us. The mind, for example is a model, not a tangible thing, yet we need to express its duty and for this purpose, models will be used.
When most of us refer to reality, we are referring to our physical selves and the environment we occupy in this form. To most of us, this reality is what we interpret through our 5 senses in a physical dimension of time and space.
However lets look at the these events a little closer. Let’s say you are falling out of a plane or for that matter, falling in love. Where does the sum of these events ultimately express themselves?
The answer is without question, the mind. We can project the events on to whatever event we like, the flight, the fall, the plane, the person but ultimately we only ever feel these experiences as an event in our minds.
So whether the event takes place in physical time and space or just in our emotional consideration, ultimately it is the mind that is ultimately where the event is ultimately “felt”.
This has particular relevance for the dream event as, one may consider that the dream event, because it does not take place in time and space by most people’s definition is not real. But the event takes place in the same place as the response to a physical stimulus and therefore must be considered with similar criteria.
By this implication we could say by consciously experiencing a dream event, we are in effect entertaining a form of reality, albeit a non physical reality, it is none the less a reality.
Let’s now take a look at the physical model of reality generation. We take in information about the physical world around us, as mentioned through our 5 senses. In the eye for example these are light receptors. These receptors pass the information as an electrical current along the nerves to a processing centre in the subconscious; we will refer to this as the Sorting Office. Because we are taking in vast quantities of information, the Sorting
Office takes only the most important information and sends it to, what we will refer to as the Reality Generator.
To give you an idea – we are taking in approximately 2 million pieces of information per second of which only approximately 150 pieces are actually sent upstairs to the conscious mind, the Reality Generator, to make up what is known as the Mental Construct.
Everybody has different beliefs, needs and desires and it is these peculiarities that ultimately determine what information is most relevant to make up the mental construct.
So for example a lady crossing the road with her child sees the oncoming traffic as something to be careful of and is taking caution. A teenager at the same street likes fast cars. A nice Ferrari passes them both. Ask them both 5 minutes later what colour the Ferrari was and there will be only one answer, you guessed it, the teenager!
The thought simply didn’t register for the lady. So the car did pass in his reality but not in hers. We will refer to the event that did happen is physical space and time (the car passed) as Consensual Reality and what happened for the individuals as Subjective Reality. We can see therefore that the two are not always concurrent.
So we now know that the information comes in as electrical information but what gives the information context?
Let me elaborate – I see a glass on the table, whereby a baby sees an image of something transparent. I don’t have to think about it to know that it is a glass because I already have a working model in my mind of what a glass is. It has a contextual meaning in my mind because I have experienced it in my reality previously. My mind can record this event and cross reference it to many more events, so I know for example without thinking that it carries water and can smash if I drop it. I have a name for it, a glass. Our minds are continuously considering experiences and modifying them to create our reality.
When the mind has an experience of an event, it can store it and all the intertwining relevant data about the subject e.g. the glass . This model can be referred to as a schema.
So to put all this together, information is presented to us through our senses. This vast information is prioritised and the most relevant information is then passed from the Sorting Office on to the Reality Generator to make up the Mental Construct. This information is then rapidly analysed and contextualised to create a formal understanding of the event which can be used for future reference. This mental construct is what most people casually refer to as reality.